The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at wevl.org. In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at tim@wevl.org. If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gypsy Rose Lee In Memphis, Tennessee

Vintage Everyday posted this series of pictures from Life magazine in 1949 documenting the travelling show troupe of burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee.  In this set of photos, Ms. Lee and her fellow entertainers were in my home town of Memphis, and a few local sites can be identified.  In the photo above, the large building (background left) is the old Ellis Auditorium.  In addition to other old Memphis buildings, the Harahan bridge over the Mississippi River is visible in some shots.  I was not able to determine conclusively what brought Ms. Lee and Company to town, but considering the downtown location, the apparent warm weather, and the carnival-like background, we here at the SSS believe her act was part of the annual Cotton Carnival. 

Sunrise Serenade: I Gotta Have My Baby Back

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "I Gotta Have My Baby Back" by Ella Fitzgerald with the Mills Brothers.  Enjoy the video from YouTube.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Playlist For May 24, 2017

The playlist for the May 24, 2017 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has now been added to the playlist filing cabinet.  

Hop Into Memorial Day With Live Music

Red Hot Lindy Hop's photo.
The Red Hot Lindy Hop lessons and sessions continue at the Rumba Room this Friday night with live music from Big Barton.  Free beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m.  Admission is $7. 
303 South Main
Memphis, TN 38103

Sunrise Serenade: Organ Grinder's Swing

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Organ Grinder's Swing" by Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sunrise Serenade: Paper Doll

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "Paper Doll" by the Mills Brothers.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sergeant Spook


I do not know anything about Sergeant Spook other than what I can infer from this 1947 edition posted on Four Color Shadows.  Apparently, Sgt. Spook was a ghost policeman, visible only to his young friend Jerry, with whom he solved crimes.  Looks like Jerry could end up getting all the credit.

Sunrise Serenade: How Many Hearts Have You Broken

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "How Many Hearts Have You Broken" by Stan Kenton and His Orchestra with Gene Howard on vocals.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line

Friday, May 19, 2017

So Much For So LIttle


Boing Boing posted this 1949 animated short, which at 10 minutes is actually just a little longer than most shorts of the era, made by Warner Bros. for the U.S. Federal Security Agency Public Health Service.  Chuck Jones directed, and Carl Stalling did the music.  It provides an interesting peek into the post-war era.  While its message is very serious, and some of its numbers are sobering, the cartoon is still entertaining while obviously aimed at persuading the public to support public health services.  Here is So Much For So Little.

Sunrise Serenade: Opus One

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "Opus One" by Anita O'Day with Gene Krupa and His Orchestra.  Enjoy the video from YouTube.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Flying On A V-Disc

V-Disc featuring Count Basie. Image courtesy of Stanford University Library.
The National World War II Museum posted a nice item on the origin of "V-Discs," the U.S. government issued phonograph recordings made exclusively for the military.  As the posted noted, V-Discs arose at a difficult time in the music industry.
The music industry was actually undergoing a war of its own during WWII. In 1942, two of the most prominent musician unions went on strike against all four recording companies in the U.S.. The strike then caused a shortage of music needed for troop morale. Yet, Lieutenant G. Robert Vincent had a solution to the problem. After approval of the U.S. government, he brokered a deal between the unions, recording companies, and the U.S. government. By agreeing to not distribute any records for commercial use, Vincent was able to get the recording companies to agree to record albums for the troops to listen to while at war. More amazingly, he also convinced top-name musicians in the business to record for the albums despite the strike they were involved in.
Another by-product of this venture was that artists who were under contract with different record labels could record V-Discs together, resulting in collaborations that would not have been possible under their contracts.

Sunrise Serenade: Exactly Like You

Today's Sunrise Serenade was "Exactly Like You" by Louis Armstrong.  Click on the song title to listen courtesy of Jazz On Line.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Playlist For May 17, 2017

The playlist for the May 17, 2017 broadcast of the Swing Shift Shuffle has now been added to the playlist filing cabinet.  

Sunrise Serenade: All The Cats Join In

This morning's Sunrise Serenade was "All The Cats Join In" by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra.  Enjoy the video from YouTube.